Restaurant veteran Robert Amar is behind the new Underdogs, a subterranean hot dog shop, which opened today (2/28) in the lower-level storefront at 132 S. 17th St. It previously was Argan Moroccan Cuisine.
Underdogs' base dog is a boiled Dietz & Watson all-beef "5-to-1" - the Tacony meat packer's signature five-to-a-pound frank - which he's selling for $3.25 on a sturdy roll from South Philly baker Cacia's. From there go the toppings - the result, Amar says, of two years of research and development.
See the menu here. A couple samples: The "My Thai" includes peanut sauce and papaya slaw. There's a "Georgia dog" with pepper hash and a housemade mustard sauce. The Coney Classic has mustard and Kissling's sauerkraut that's been recooked - doctored - to include bacon, onion and carrot.
Amar, a veteran of Buddakan, Tangerine, Fleming's in Radnor, and most recently Fare in Fairmount, is sourcing other sausages locally, including Czerw's kielbasa, Fiorella Bros. hot sausage, and Martin's mild pork sausage.
He's also offering hand-cut fries with an assortment of dipping sauces. A combo - $3 over the dog price - includes a bag of fries and a soft drink.
Underdogs will open at 11 a.m. daily and will keep late-late hours (perhaps till 4 a.m.) on weekends. Late-night fast-food options in the neighborhood are pretty much limited to McDonald's and 500 Degrees.
Update: Menu link fixed.